When he first became president of California State University-Long Beach in 2005, the talk was that F. King Alexander wasn’t qualified to run the institution of more than 30,000 people.
But that view changed, according to people such as former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill and university fundraising chief Andrea Taylor.“When he was hired, people were intent on not liking him. His predecessor had a warm presence. King had a different personality,” Taylor said. “It’s a credit to him that he could succeed here. It’s not like the campus decided to embrace him. He earned that campus and community respect.”
Alexander stepped into the LSU presidency this past week. He was selected amid controversy over a secretive search process and was immediately attacked by a faculty leader who questioned his qualifications. But perhaps his biggest challenge will be battles over money for higher education.